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How to Make Mini Bows

Below are 2 methods for making mini bows.

Method #1

Bow-making tool: a needle placed into a wooden handle.  The length of the needle determines the loop size of the bow, so you can make these tools in several sizes to make any size bow you wish.

Place a 7mm piece of silk ribbon over the needle; leave a tail, if desired.

Put a tiny drop of glue on the ribbon next to the needle.

Hold the ribbon down on the tool, and pull the long end of the ribbon up the full length of the needle tool, then push the ribbon down over the needle into the glue, forming a loop.

Turn your tool slightly, and repeat, making another loop.

Continue in this manner till your bow is full and fluffy.

On the last loop, measure the ribbon against the needle, and cut ribbon just beyond this.  Turn under the end of the ribbon before pushing the needle thru to hide the end of the ribbon inside this last loop.

Add ribbon tails to your bow, if desired.  Be sure to cut the ends of the tail at an angle, or fishtail them so that they won’t unravel.

Method #2

Make the tool:
Cut a 2″ x 2″ block of wood from a 3/4″ board (preferably plywood.)  Draw diagonal lines from opposite corners — the point at which these lines intersect is the center.

Using a compass, draw a 5/8″ diameter circle on the face of the wood block and divide the circle into 10 equal parts.  Mark each pin location (outside the circle) with a fine-tipped pen.

Drill a hole (using a #50 wire drill bit) at each of the 10 marks.  Holes should be 1/2″ deep.

Cut (10) 4d box nails each 1″ long.  File the cut ends smooth and round off sharp edge.  Drive all nails into the block using drilled holes as pilots.  Leave 3/8″ of each nail exposed.  Number all pins 1 through 10.

Cut a 1/4″ dowel stick about 3″ long.  Sharpen one end and leave the other end blunt.

For best results, use TIE-TIE ribbon brand name “Satintone” which sticks to itself.  Hallsheen ribbon can be used but it does not work as well.

Measure approx. 1 yard (36”) and cut to length.  Divide this ribbon into 1/8” widths by clipping the end of the ribbon and stripping into narrow widths.  A 1/4” wide ribbon will yield 6 lengths.

Begin by impaling a small square of wax paper over pins to keep bow maker clean and free of glue.  Place a small blob of sticking wax in the center of the pins.  Cut a small 1/4” square of index card, place on the wax and press down firmly with a dowel stick.  The index card will become the base of the finished bow.  Place a small amount of thick white glue (Velverette, Sobo, Tacky, etc.) on the card.

Place one end of a 1/8” strip of ribbon on the glued square and press down firmly.  Allow to dry for a minute or two so that the ribbon is firmly anchored.  Use the pointed dowel stick throughout the bow-making operating.

Starting with pin #1, wind ribbon around the pin, put a small drop of glue in the center, lay ribbon on top and press down firmly.  Keep ribbon snug, but do not pull too tightly or you will crease the loop and have trouble removing your finished bow from the pins.  Ribbon should be flat against the pin and as close to the bottom as possible.  Do not twist the ribbon. 

Next, wind ribbon around pin #6 making a figure eight (see figure 3.)  Anchor the ribbon with glue each time it crosses the center and press down firmly with the dowel stick.  Ribbon that sticks to itself will set firmly very quickly.  Non-stick will not set up as fast.

Make a slight turn in the center and go around pin #2, across center, glue and press down and then around pin #7.  Proceed with this pattern: from pin #3 to #8; from pin #4 to #9; from #5 to #10.  Figure 4 shows a clockwise rotation, but if you find that counter-clockwise works better for you, then reverse the rotation.

You have now made one complete circuit of all pins.  To get the fullness of a complete bow, three (3) circuits are required, so repeat the procedure three times.  Keep the tension even on all loops and not too tight.  Be sure that ribbon is kept smooth and not twisted.

When you have completed three circuits, most of the ribbon should be used up.  Anchor the last loop of ribbon at the center with glue and cut off close to center.

Press down on the center firmly with the sharp end of the dowel.  Finally, using a sharp tool (such as the point of a small pair of scissors) gently pry bow off the pins by pushing the point under the center of the bow, lifting gently around the circle.  When bow is released from the pins, gently “fluff” up the loops so that the center if filled in.  Take bow off pins immediately.  If left until the glue completely dries, the loops will not fluff up!!

Use same ribbon to band around a wrapped package and glue bow in place!